Abilify Lawsuit

Abilify (aripiprazole), a prescription antipsychotic created by Bristol-Myers Squibb and used to treat mental disorders, has been proven to cause suicidal behaviors in children, adolescents, and young adults. Additionally, this drug can increase the probability of engaging in dangerous activities such as excessive gambling, promiscuity, and overspending.

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What Is Abilify?

Abilify is a brand-name version of the drug Aripiprazole and is an antipsychotic medicine mainly for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, it is additionally used to treat depression, certain symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder, and tic disorders. Aripiprazole has been in use in the United States since 2002 and, as of 2020, was used in 8 million prescriptions.

Who Is Bristol-Myers Squibb?

Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in New York City, New York. As one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, it develops medicines for various medical conditions, including cancer, HIV, heart disease, diabetes, and mental illnesses.

Why Are People Filing Abilify Lawsuits?

Bristol-Myers Squibb has been confronted with hundreds of lawsuits for its medication allegedly causing or exacerbating addictive behaviors such as compulsive gambling or pornography viewing. It has additionally been linked to serious medical issues such as diabetes, stroke, and tardive dyskinesia – a disorder that causes uncontrollable movements of the body.

What Compulsive Behaviors Are Abilify Users Engaging In?

Claimants have brought lawsuits against Bristol-Myers Squibb seeking compensation for damages incurred due to uncontrollable urges to engage in behaviors that have been identified as compulsory in nature, such as:

  • Gambling
  • Binge eating
  • Shopping
  • Hypersexuality

How Is Abilify Associated With Gambling?

For many, gambling is simply a form of entertainment. However, for some, the need to gamble excessively is a mental illness termed gambling disorder. Studies have shown that certain medications, including Abilify, may contribute to the development of gambling disorder. The National Problem Gambling Clinic indicated a noticeable increase in gambling patients who identified as taking Aripiprazole – up to 9% of their patients in 2022.

What Damages Are People Facing Due to Abilify-Related Gambling Disorder?

For patients struggling with gambling disorder, uncontrolled gambling can have drastic, enduring effects on your life, including:

  • Committing suicide, suicide attempts, or suicidal thoughts
  • Damaged or lost relationships, including divorce or loss of child custody
  • Financial problems, including bankruptcy or loss of a home
  • Legal complications or imprisonment
  • Loss of a job
  • Stress-related health concerns

Gambling patients who have stopped the use of Abilify have noted it has made controlling urges to continue gambling significantly easier.

How Did Abilify Impact Compulsive Eating?

Whether enjoying extra helpings during the holidays or adding on too much dessert at the restaurant, many people overeat occasionally. But for some individuals, uncontrolled excessive eating is more than overindulging every now and then and instead is a pathological disorder.

For some patients prescribed Abilify, the drug’s known side effect of creating uncontrollable urges has led to binge-eating disorder.

How Has Abilify Associated Binge Eating Disorder Harmed Patients? 

Binge eating disorder has a number of significant impacts on a person’s health, well-being, and financial situation, such as:

  • Reduced quality of life
  • Isolation
  • Obesity-related medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and bipolar disorder
  • Increased financial burdens caused by necessary medical treatments

Abilify patients who developed binge-eating disorder have typically been able to regain control of their eating behaviors when they stopped taking the medication.

How Did Abilify Contribute to Hypersexuality?

Compulsive sexual behavior is an obsession with sex that can have ruinous consequences in one’s life. Such an addiction may involve both traditional or non-traditional sexual activities like masturbation, cybersex, and having multiple partners, but when these practices become uncontrollable and take over a person’s daily routine, it develops into a mental disorder referred to as hypersexuality. Several patients prescribed Abilify have shown an obsessive interest in sexual behavior after beginning treatment with the medication.

How Can Abilify Connected Hypersexuality Cause Injury?

When a person experiences hypersexuality, it can have drastic and detrimental effects on their quality of life, namely:

  • Loss of relationships, including divorce
  • Financial impacts caused by situations such as divorce, job loss, or therapy
  • Neglect of responsibilities
  • Development of unfeasible sexual expectations
  • Increased mental illness such as depression
  • Exposure to and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases

What Medical Conditions Have Been Linked to Abilify? 

Bristol-Myers Squibb lists several serious medical conditions as possible side effects of taking Abilify, including:

  • Metabolic changes that may increase the likelihood of diabetes, hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, or weight gain
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome

What Types of Treatment Are Available for Conditions Associated With Abilify Use?

For most patients experiencing Abilify-related conditions, doctors have discontinued the use of the medication to reduce or eliminate symptoms. Unfortunately, while cessation of use may stop further side effects, it can not reverse the damage that has already been incurred during the use of the medication.

Has Abilify Been Recalled?

Abilify has not been recalled from the market and is still used for treating multiple mental illnesses. However, the FDA has issued warnings regarding the use of the drug and advises the medical community to be more aware of and to closely monitor patients for early signs of serious Abilify side effects. Additionally, the FDA issued increased warning label requirements for Abilify packaging.

Why Was Bristol-Myers Squibb Facing Litigation for Kickbacks?

In 2007 Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to pay $515 million for a settlement of allegations of fraud, including illegal kickbacks to doctors for prescribing Bristol-Myers Squibb medications. Included in the suit were allegations that the company was paying retailers to promote the sale of Abilify to pediatric patients and those struggling with dementia.

Additionally, in 2011, employees of the company sued their employer regarding Abilify-specific kickbacks to doctors. While the judge dismissed this case for lack of evidence, a connected case was settled in 2016. A $19.5 million settlement was reached due to allegations that the company was once again promoting the unapproved use of the drug for pediatric and elderly dementia-related diagnoses.

How Many Abilify Lawsuits Have Been Filed?

Thousands of Abilify lawsuits have been filed and joined into Multi-District (MDL) or Multi-County Litigation (MCL). Specifically, such cases have been filed in New Jersey, Florida, and California. The MDL and MCL suits have sought damages due to the compulsive behavior conditions associated with Abilify use.

Other lawsuits regarding the onset of medical conditions such as diabetes and tardive dyskinesia due to Abilify usage have been dismissed by judges.

What Abilify Lawsuit Settlements Have There Been?

In 2018 the MDL in Florida, overseen by Judge Casey Rodgers, reached an undisclosed settlement amount.  By March 2019, 2,430 of the cases in the Florida MDL were pending settlement. Additionally, the claims in New Jersey and California reached similar settlements.

Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA. 


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